Robbie Farah retained his role as captain for the third year in a row. After an impressive end to the 2010 Telstra Premiership, the Tigers were keen to keep the same squad the retained all their starting side with the addition of Matt Utai.
In the week leading up to the start of the season, it was reported that Tigers star half Benji Marshall was being investigated into an alleged assault in the early hours of Saturday, 5 March. This incident occurred just days after Marshall was announced as the face of rugby league for 2011 and hours after Marshall appeared at an event for the charity he helped create, Footy Rocks.
The Tigers started the season with an away loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs. Tigers prop Bryce Gibbs was a late withdrawal from the game, with Andrew Fifita replacing him in the starting lineup. The first try of the game was scored by a length-of-the-field try to Bulldogs outside back Josh Morris in the 27th minute. The Tigers hit back six minutes later with a good backline move which saw Benji Marshall throwing a cut-out pass to Lote Tuqiri to score the opening try of the Tigers account for 2011. Tuqiri has scored the opening try of the season for the Tigers for the second time in a row. Marshall missed the conversion from the sideline and the Tigers trailed 6-4 at halftime. The Tigers were first to score after the break through Chris Lawrence, with another Marshall assist, but tries to Pritchard and Keating saw the Bulldogs leading 16-8 after 64 minutes. Marshall then scored a try himself and converted it with 11 minutes remaining. But that was to be the closest the Tigers would get, as Steve Turner scored for the 'Dogs in the 75th minute, to seal the points with a 24-14 victory. Liam Fulton lead the tackle count for the Tigers with 44, with captain Robbie Farah also making a strong contribution with 38.
Liam Fulton was ruled out before the teams were announced on Tuesday with a shoulder injury sustained in the Week 1 loss to the Bulldogs. Simon Dwyer was named in the run-on side. Gareth Ellis was in doubt a couple days before the match and that was confirmed at kick-off, when he and fellow big-man Bryce Gibbs also withdraw from the game. They were replaced by the Schirnack brothers. The Tigers opened up their account for 2011 with their first home game of the season, played at Leichhardt Oval. The error count was high and tries were hard to come by, but the Tigers eventually managed to come from behind to get the win. A first half Chris Lawrence try was cancelled out minutes later by Simon Mannering and the score was 6-6 at the break. Krisnan Inu managed to find himself scoring from dummy-half in the corner in the 50th minute, after some freakish lead-up work by Inu the play before. A side-line conversion by Seymour gave the visitors a 12-6 lead. With less than twenty minutes remaining the Tigers stepped it up to send Ayshford and the skipper, Farah, over to put the Tigers in the lead. Another try to Lawrence sealed the win in the 74th minute.
Coming into the game the Tigers were again without influential second-rowers Fulton and Ellis, and the team fielded a similar line-up to the previous week. To add to their injury woes, however, Tuqiri only lasted 49 minutes coming off with a suspected broken arm. Chris Lawrence was also rushed to Campbelltown Hospital to relocate a dislocated hip with six minutes left in the game. The Tigers will be without both their left-sided attackers for several weeks. The Tigers started well, scoring the first try through Lawrence and ended the half with a commanding 16-4 lead. They went on to control much of the second half sealing the game after 69 minutes with a 34-10 lead. Disappointingly for fans and coach Tim Sheens, the Tigers let in three tries in the final ten minutes, including a 90-metre dash by Blake Ferguson to give the Raiders some credibility to the scoreline.
The Tigers again had to field a depleted side without regular starters Tuqiri, Lawrence, Fulton, and Ellis, as well as Footy Show star and right winger Beau Ryan still sidelined with his pre-season injury. Bryce Gibbs was also expected not to play, but was a late inclusion to side wearing jersey number 20. This meant the naming of halfbackJacob Miller for his debut. Mitch Brown was recalled to replace Tuqiri, Tim Moltzen was selected in the centres and Geoff Daniela was named in the side for the first time this season on the bench. A quick reshuffle to the originally selected side meant that Miller had to wait 64 minutes before making his debut, with Moltzen switching to halfback and Daniela starting in the centres. Jason Schirnack was omitted from the team altogether. The Roosters came out crowing, scoring two tries in 13 minutes over the wounded Tigers outfit. The Tigers got one back straight after half-time through Aaron Woods, but were no real match for the 2010 Runners-Up. In a comical event seven minutes into the second-half, Roosters five-eighthTodd Carney bolted over referee Tony Archer after screaming through a line-break. The Roosters went on to score two minutes later through fullbackAnthony Minichiello. With Roosters leading 18-6 with ten minutes to go, Minichiello was then sin binned for a professional foul (deliberately raking the ball from Tigers captain Robbie Farah after his line-break). However, the Tigers were unable to capitalize on the extra-man advantage, and it was the Roosters next to score through a magnificent inside ball from Pearce to Carney. The Roosters came away with the points with a 24-6 win.
Round 5 - Heritage Round: Arch-old enemies the South Sydney Rabbitohs were the Tigers opponents for this historic celebration. It was the first match back from injury for Gareth Ellis, after initially not being named in the squad, Ellis passed a fitness test late in the week to become available. The unlucky player to miss out was Aaron Woods. The Rabbitohs got on the board early with some good footwork and passing from Chris Sandow and running by Roy Asotasi. The Rabbits seemed to dominate possession early in the match, but some good Tigers defence held them at bay. It took some individual brilliance from Benji Marshall to get the Tigers going. From the scrum win, he dodged, weaved and dummied his way into a hole from nothing to race 40 metres to score and convert his try. Still the Tigers defence looked strong and in the 35th minute another long range try was scored to Wade McKinnon off the back of some excellent work from skipper Robbie Farah out of dummy-half. The Tigers went to the break 12-6 in the lead. The Tigers were first to score upon resumption to Mitch Brown in the corner. They extended their lead to 22-6 moments later, in the 49th minute, when Marshall sent Simon Dwyer through a roaring gap to score. A penalty goal would all but seal victory in the 65th minute, but the Tigers weren't finished. Again Marshall sent Dwyer over in the 69th minute to stretch the lead to 30-6, and there the score would remain. With five minutes to go Marshall was sent to the sin bin for a profession foul (holding Souths back-rower Dave Taylor down too long). Marshall left the field to standing ovation for all his efforts on the night. The man-of-the-match award would go to Dwyer however, for his two tries and 31 tackles. This big victory was set up by some stunning Tigers defence in the first half. Injuries to Keith Galloway and Geoff Daniela put a dampener on an otherwise brilliant Tigers performance.
The Tigers started without three players originally named at the start of the week: McKinnon, Ryan, and Woods. This meant call-ups for NSW Cup players, winger Sam Latu, fullback Sean Meaney, and back-rower Mark Flanagan for the first time this season. Moltzen switched to fullback and young Jacob Miller started at halfback in his stead. The Tigers couldn't have asked for any more of a perfect start. From the first set of six, the Titans dropped the ball and the Tigers were on the attack. They got a repeat set when Miller grubbered the ball into the in-goal where Capewell was caught. From the resultant set, the Titans got the ball, when a Tigers kick failed to make it past the defence. Titans halfback, Scott Prince, however, decided to throw a flick pass inside his own 20 metres which failed to find its target. The Tigers got the ball back and this time did not pass up the opportunity to take some points. A brilliantly executed kick from Marshall in behind the defensive line saw a rampaging Simon Dwyer diving to ground the ball over the line. This set the tone for the next twenty minutes. The Tigers turned down the opportunity to score a try in the ninth, opting for a penalty conversion. Marshall extended the lead by two points. They would be invited back into Titans territory when Prince kicked the ball out on the full from the resultant kick-off. The Tigers scored through Chris Heighington in the eleventh minute, cleaning up the scraps on a last play kick. The Tigers would continue to dominate the match, until the Titans hit back with two quick tries to William Zillman in the 25th and 28th minute. At half-time, the Tigers would remain in the lead 14-8. The second half began as a polar opposite to the first. The Tigers were the ones playing ordinary, drop-ball football and the Titans had more opportunities. Off the back of a penalty, Scott Prince scored a fantastic solo try when he threw a dummy and sliced through the Tigers defence to level the scores in the 73rd minute. The Titans then got their second win of the season with what would end up being the last play of the match. As the Tigers looked to put pressure on a potential field goal attempt, Minichiello simply strolled over the line off a Nathan Friend short pass, one out from the ruck.